Long-standing Italian bakery famous for its tomato bread and sesame bread sticks. Cash only.

Our Review

Loaves of all shapes and sizes fill the display windows at this long-standing Italian bakery, supplier to many area restaurants and one of only two Chicago restaurants to still use a coal oven (the other, Coalfire, is just down the street). Every day the baker goes downstairs and loads the coal into a hopper above the lit stoker, which feeds the furnace. For the next five to seven hours it burns, until they close the chimneys and start baking with the heat retained in the bricks. Compared to conventionally baked bread, the difference, owner Victor D'Amato says, is "like, cook the steak in your house, cook the steak in a barbecue pit." Sesame-coated bread sticks are a specialty here; so is tomato bread, which also comes topped with olives or artichokes. Huge rounds of toast (frizelles) are sold by the bag, and there are subs and thick slices of pizza and a variety of tantalizing cookies, including plain or chocolate-dipped biscotti.

Laura Levy Shatkin

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Price: $

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